Tonight "NBC Nightly News" will honor college graduates across the country with our annual commencement round-up. Below, learn more about the bands whose music will be featured in the show.
"Higher Than the Stars" by Pains of Being Pure at Heart from the EP 'Higher Than the Stars'
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have come a long way since their beginnings as drum-machine equipped neophytes playing a legendary five-song, 10-minute set at band member Peggy Wang's birthday party in March of 2007. Through a self-released EP in 2007 and a series of eagerly-received singles like 2008's "Everything With You" and "Kurt Cobain's Cardigan" the band developed an intensely loyal underground following. Upon release of their self-titled debut album in 2009, that acclaim extended to well-respected cultural tastemakers like The New York Times ("sensitive and sublime," Best of 2009) Pitchfork (Best New Music, Best of 2009) Stereogum ("Addictive pop gold," Best of 2009) and The NME ("pure indiepop to hold close to your heart," Best of 2009).
Michael Patrick O'Leary
"Tumbleweed" by The Great American Canyon Band from their self-titled EP
The Great American Canyon Band is based around the powerful songwriting and harmonies of husband and wife team Paul and Krystal Jean Masson. Tumbleweed, which was first sung by Krystal Jean to Paul on their wedding anniversary, is the lead single from the to-be-released debut album. Self-recorded in a gutted out house in Chicago with no running water and just two old guitars they created a sound that is intimate, honest, and unique. New EP now available on iTunes.
"Collector" by Here We Go Magic from the album 'Pigeons'
Here We Go Magic consists of singer/songwriter Luke Temple, bassist Jennifer Turner, guitarist Michael Bloch, and drummer Peter Hale. They bonded over a shared belief in musical spontaneity and a kind of improvisation that feels too divinely ordered to be called "jamming." The New York band has wowed audiences at Bonnaroo, Coachella and elsewhere with their uncanny live chemistry, turning album tracks into intricately groovy sonic explorations where the band seemed almost synchronously possessed.
j. jackalope media
"Little Jealousy" by Sonia Montez from the album 'Of Tears and Honey'
As a singer-composer, Brooklyn-based Sonia Montez echoes her fascination with humanity and a myriad of experiences. She is easily influenced by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and the Beatles, but does not shy away from comparisons to her more contemporary counterparts, incorporating her adept musical phrasing and personal wit. Montez has shared the stage with legendary songwriter Chip Taylor, and has opened sold out shows for Matt Nathanson, Jessie Bailyn, Kaki King, and The Mountain Goats. Montez is currently in pre-production for a 2nd release with producer Andrew Felluss at Radian Records.
"The Lake" by Aunt Martha from the EP 'Bloodshot'
Aunt Martha is the creative vessel of New England based songwriter and vocalist Tim Noyes. The band has taken various shapes since its formation in 2008, all the while being propelled by the constant writing and touring that has become Noyes’ trademark. Like the band itself, the music tends to fluctuate. Sometimes it’s quiet and sentimental, stripped down to nothing more than acoustic guitar and vocals. At other times, particularly on the most recent full length album Norway, ME, it becomes a lush wall of sound filled by layered vocal loops, electric guitars, makeshift percussion and synthesizers.
Amy Marie Stadelmann
"Daydreaming" by Di Johnston from the album 'Fascinator'
Di Johnston was born in Hong Kong to two U.S. diplomats. After stints in mainland China and Virginia, she moved to New York where she began her performing career. Johnston's debut release 'The Shanghai Restoration Project Presents: Di Johnston' was featured as the Single of the Week on iTunes Japan in April 2007. Within days, the album reached No. 1 Electronic and Top 5 Overall. Since then she has steadily gained fans around the world as her songs have been used in several television advertisements, electronica compilations, and even a Christian Dior Haute Couture fashion show. Her sophomore album Fascinator was released on Sept. 14th, 2010 and produced once again by Dave Liang of The Shanghai Restoration Project.